Fruited sourdough bread: sandwich perfection

When you think sourdough, you probably think:

A) San Francisco;
B) Crusty bread;
C) A lot of of work to make.

None of which paint an accurate picture of the sourdough bread pictured above. Which is:

A) A Vermont native;
B) Soft inside, with a chewy crust;
C) Potentially ready to enjoy in under 4 hours.

Have I piqued your interest?

Hope so. Because this bread makes the BEST toast, the BEST sandwiches and, if you’re a fan of the sweet/salty flavor combo, the ABSOLUTE BEST grilled cheese ever.

And yes, it can be made, start to finish, in under 4 hours. So long as you have your starter ready to go…

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

When making yeast bread with sourdough starter, I like to feed it first; it helps the bread rise.

Wait a minute – don’t you always have to feed your starter before using it?

Nope. If you’re using it in waffles, or chocolate cake, or popovers, or pretty much anything beyond yeast bread, sourdough starter can easily be used without offering it a meal first.

Which makes the non-yeast recipes listed above ideal for what, class?

That’s right – using up the “discard” sourdough you’d ordinarily throw away when you DO feed your starter prior to making yeast bread.

But, since we ARE making bread here, best to feed your starter first. If you have your own method, go for it. If not, here’s how I do it:

Pull your sourdough starter out of the refrigerator. Stir in any clear, amber, or dark-colored liquid that’s collected on top. If the liquid is pinkish, discard all of the starter and begin again; pink signifies harmful bacteria.

Discard all but 4 ounces (a generous half cup) of the starter. Stir in 1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm water, and 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.

Cover and let rest at warm room temperature until the starter is bubbly and looks active, which will probably take 8 to 12 hours or so.

Bringing your starter up to snuff may take more than one feeding, if it’s been neglected. Questions? See our complete guide to sourdough maintenance.

Combine 2/3 cup (about 5 1/2 ounces) fed starter with the following:

2/3 to 3/4 cup lukewarm water*
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon to 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup potato flour or 1/2 cup instant potato flakes
1/3 cup rolled oats, traditional or quick
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple (about 1 small apple), peeled or not
1 cup raisins, golden or dark

*In summer, or during hot/humid weather, reduce the water by 1 tablespoon.

Mix and knead to form a smooth yet sticky dough. This will take about 7 minutes at medium speed in your stand mixer. If you’re kneading by hand, it’ll take about 10 minutes, and you’ll want to keep your hands well greased.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl (or 8-cup measure, as I’ve done here).

Cover it, and allow it to rise for about 90 minutes. The dough will become puffy, though it probably won’t double in bulk.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan.

Gently deflate the risen dough, and shape it into a log. Place it in the pan, and cover it lightly.

Let the dough rise until it crests about 1″ over the rim of the pan, 60 to 90 minutes.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with foil after 15 to 20 minutes; it will continue to brown slowly.

When it’s done, the bread will be golden brown, and will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

Remove the bread from the oven, and after a couple of minutes turn it out of the pan. Run a stick of butter over the top, if desired; this will yield a soft crust and, of course, wonderful, buttery flavor.

Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

And buttering. And enjoying.

Or grilling, to make Grilled Cheese with Apple and Arugula.

Whoa… trust me – this is one REALLY good sandwich!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Fruited Sourdough Sandwich Bread.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. bibiswas

    Just cut a warm slice (after waiting the customary 15 minutes), buttered it and offered to share with my husband – he gobbled it up without giving me any! The bread sliced like a dream, soft and shiny buttery top and as a bonus – my kitchen smells like fall with the apple-y aroma! The recipe worked very well – got all consistencies and timings right, bread rose well. I used parchment paper to line my glass pyrex loaf pan – came off beautifully. I will make a grilled sandwich with mozzarella, homegrown tomato and basil for tomorrow’s lunch with this bread. By the way, this is my first ever “sandwich” bread even though I have been successfully making sourdough bread, pizza etc. for years. Guess the easier stuff intimidated me more? I am super excited about baking my first ever sandwich bread this time. Thanks Ms. PJ for sharing your creation

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying this bread – though I can’t take credit for it. Charlotte, one of our test bakers, created this recipe for our catalogue, and she’s responsible for the grilled cheese angle, too – brilliant! Enjoy – PJH

  2. Ginger

    I think this bread looks wonderful. My picky family would disagree. If I left out the fruit, would I need to adjust anything? Or maybe I’ll just make a loaf all to myself. 🙂 Thanks.

    You may omit the fruit is you prefer, no changes. Frank @ KAF.

  3. Sarah

    Yum! Can this be made in the bread machine-either the dough cycle or all the way through baking?

    Sarah, I’d do it using the dough cycle, then take it out to bake. It might very well do fine on the regular cycle, but since I haven’t tested it – not sure. If you try baking this in your bread machine, let us all know how it turns out, OK? Thanks – PJH

  4. mstebby

    I made this last night and brought it in for my ‘test subjects’/work mates. They liked it and my favorite taste tester (my son) said, “yummy Mommy”, so that was a good sign!
    I was thinking of adding nuts to it. Mine seemed a bit too raisin-y. I might cut back a bit next time. Overall great reviews and everyone really liked it.

    Glad to hear it – especially the “yummy Mommy”! 🙂 PJH

  5. jama

    This bread, toasted , with Nutella and homemade fig jam. New favorite breakfast! It seems a little too tender, though. Did I not knead it long enough?
    This bread is supposed to be on the soft side, but if it is so tender that it is falling apart, it could have been over-baked, over-proofed, or yes, it may have needed more gluten development. ~Amy

  6. bakerjoy

    I have a sourdough starter that has been in the family almost 50 years. I seldom stray from the ‘tried and true’ white or 11-grain but had to try this one! It was excellent. Great taste, texture, etc. On my second try, I used 1/2 golden and 1/2 dark raisins PLUS 1/4 cup sunflower seeds. YUMMY! Next go, I think I’ll substitute some dried cranberries. Thanks for another favorite!

  7. J.T.

    I still have a dry Alaskan Sourdough starter kit purchased in the early 1970s… will this still work?
    Give it a try, you never know!

  8. Jhineugene

    I like to use all sourdough and no commercial yeast, so I doubled the starter and did a preferment with the starter, flour and water (I had some potato water so I used that) overnight. Also substituted some honey for the sugar and threw in a handful of sunflower seeds. The bread is both beautiful and delicious; thanks for sharing it with us!
    Thank you for sharing your tweaks and twists. I especially love the seeds you added. ~ MaryJane

  9. SNJ

    Is there a substitute for potato flour or potato flakes?

    You could try using a bit of tapioca flour instead, but the potato flour/instant mashed potato flakes really do create a fluffy, tender dough. You can also omit the potato completely and just use an equal amount of regular flour to make up the difference. The bread will still turn out quite tasty, just not as soft in texture. Kim@KAF

  10. SWS

    Wondering why the ingredient list indicates to divide the flour. Can’t see directions to use the divided flour in the instructions.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      No idea – it doesn’t say “divided” in the recipe, just the blog. A little gremlin must have added it! Thanks for noticing, I’ll fix it. PJH

  11. ResGar

    I love this bread. I’m making it today and noticed that the instructions say to reduce the amount of water used during hot weather. Why is this? I would imaging you’d need a bit more water to cover losses due to evaporation.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Actually, during hot/humid weather flour tends to absorb moisture like a sponge; thus you need to cut back on your liquid in the recipe a bit, since the flour is already “damp” to begin with. Make sense? PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Well, a 9″ x 5″ pan is about 25% to 30% larger volume than an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ – so using that info., hopefully you’ll have good success! Of course, you can also simply bake in the larger pan and end up with a shorter loaf… PJH

    2. Susan Reid

      Just a few changes to increase the size: Use 3/4 cup of starter, 1 cup of water, and increase the flour to 2 3/4 to 3 cups, depending on what the dough needs. Everything else can stay the same. Susan

  12. Michele

    Your blog and link to recipe says to bake to 190 degrees but the photo with the instant thermometer shows a temperature reading of 198… does it make a difference– and if so, which is correct?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Michele- You need to make sure it reads at least 190°F, but it may read higher (and mine often does) than that when it is done, depending on when you take it out to check. You should be alright as long as the center of the bread reaches 190°F. If you have any further question, please give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 1-855-371-2253. Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  13. Lindsay

    This is a fabulous recipe – I was thrown off a little by the wide variation in sugar, so made it with 2 tablespoons which worked fairly well both as breakfast toast and as bread that I served with a celeriac, apple, potato and leek soup. If I were baking it solely for breakfast, I’d probably increase the sugar to the 3 tablespoons; to use as a savory accompaniment I’d go down to the one tablespoon.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe and I think altering the sweetness to fit your intended use is a great way to go about really maximizing this recipes potential! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  14. Luanne Powell

    Thank you for this recipe! Love everything about it. Can I double this recipe so I can freeze a loaf as well? LOVE everything King Arthur!!!
    Thanks for your help, Luanne Powell

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You are so welcome Luanne! And you can absolutely feel free to double the recipe (the more the merrier!). I would recommend, however, only using the single recipe amount of yeast (so you don’t need to double that particular ingredient). Happy Fall Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  15. Caroline

    I’m just making this recipe today and I’m finding it extremely dry! I know the recipe says that it’s a sticky dough, but I’ve already added extra water and it’s still on the dry side. I used the grams version of the recipe, but I don’t think that should make a difference.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If your dough was dry, it could be your starter was a little on the drier verses wetter side in which case, adjusting the consistency to the final dough is necessary for more sticky consistency as described in the recipe. During these cooler months, flour tends to be drier and more liquid is necessary for reaching the proper consistency. Take that into account also! We hope you will try again! Elisabeth@KAF

  16. Caroline

    Hi- Thanks for the information. I added a few more tbsp of water to the dough and it softened up. It rose very nicely as well. I copied the photo on your blog, and placed a plastic bag over the top. Sadly when I checked in on at 3/4’s of the way through the rise, it had fallen in on it self and was sitting on top of the dough. When I went to adjust it, I noticed that the dough deflated somewhat. I didn’t know what to do, so I let it rise for another 25 minutes. It did rise some, but not to 1″ above the pan. I moved, forward because I was running out of time, and placed it in the oven. At the 15-20 minute mark, I tented it, but I didn’t see much browning happening. I cooked it for the remaining time (45 minutes in all) and until the temp was about 198°F and still it remains pretty anemic . Any insight into what happened?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This does sound like over-rising or a dough that might be over proofed. For best trouble shooting, call our baker’s hotline (855-371-2253). We’ll be able to have a conversation about process, mixing, etc. and we’ll get to the reason the bread collapsed. Working together, we’ll get you back to happy baking! Irene@KAF

  17. Kay Adams

    This is absolutely the best bread I have every made. I also used the recipe for the grilled cheese with apple and arugula sandwich and again was the best. I made the bread just using your bread pan in the regular oven, and the sour dough was made from your starter. Reading the comment above when I use Saran Wrap to put on top of the rising dough in the pan, I lightly grease the wrap and it will never stick to the rising dough. The only thing I will adjust is tenting the bread after 15 or so minutes. Will watch it after 20 minutes and see if it needs to be tented then and once I make that adjustment will follow that regimen the next time. Would like it to be a little browner than it was. But it is definitely a keeper.

  18. Sandra

    Yesterday I made this wonderful bread, so much so that to make it again today! I don’t have an oven, so I used my microwave convention & it turned out just great, not as brown as yours. Also, I finally found how to bake sour dough bread, though making it over & over. Learning how to make bread at 68 yrs young is great! Thank you for your site, it’s such a pleasure to use.

    1. Sandra

      My husband surprised me with a bread proofer. I am overjoyed with the results! If you can afford one, it is worth every $$$.

  19. Eleen

    I intend to use fed sourdough for this recipe. Can I reduce the instant yeast by 50% as I prefer to have a natural tasting bread than a yeasty one. How will this affect the rising time? Thanks.

    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Eleen. Depending on how vigorous your starter is, the first rise may take 30 to 45 minutes longer than the recipe specifies (the temperature of your rising location will also be a factor). Susan

  20. Barbara

    I made mine with fresh pear and when I put butter on the top after baking it, I sprinkled it liberally with cinnamon-cardamom-sugar. The taste was fabulous, but I was less thrilled with the texture, which was quite dense, and the rise, which was lackluster. I did the second rise in the fridge, as I usually do with sourdough breads, and put the shaped loaves directly in the hot oven. The taste is so great, but the appearance will prevent me from gifting it – do you have suggestions to improve the texture and rise?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad you so enjoyed the flavor, Barbara, and we should be able to help with the texture and rise. There are a few things that could be going on here. For example, how are you measuring your flour? If by volume, are you using our fluff, sprinkle and level method (as detailed here: Was your dough fully kneaded? The kind of yeast you use to augment the rise of your loaf can also make a difference. We recommend using an active dry or instant yeast, but not Rapid Rise or its like, especially when prolonging the second rise in the fridge. Your shaping technique can also play a role. We’d be happy to talk through the various potential pitfalls if you give our free Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. Hope to hear from you! Mollie@KAF

  21. Micheline

    I got a Sourdough Starter for Christmas. I needed help with the instructions. Judy was my “guide” for this one. What patience Judy had with me, answering all my questions and even starting over because this “76 years old”, got all mixed up. Thank you Judy.

    Thank you the people at the Baker’s Hotline for few times I called for help. Hope your Christmas was Peaceful and full of Joy. Happy New Year.

    1. cheryl

      Don’t feel so bad Micheline This 66 yr old has been taking out the 1/2 cup of starter and throwing that away and adding 4 ozs flour and 1/2 cup water to what was left Well it wasn’t really bubbling but was growing a little right along Well today is my 7th day and when I went to get it out to feed it was bubbluy and to the top of the bowl its in!!! then I went to make something out of the discard 1/2 cup and discovered that that’s what I was suppose to be saving and feeding all along!!! So call to Judy at the help line and will try and do it right from now on Live and Learn lol

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